With reports surfacing this weekend that Wulff and Co. picked up three more junior college recruits, bringing the 2011 JC total to five, I immediately had flashbacks to the infamous 10 JC class of 2007.
When they've had a full cycle to recruit, this staff has put a heavy emphasis on recruiting high school talent, only dipping into the JC ranks for immediate need (Jacobson, Gonzalez) or to fill spots after signing day (Hoffart, Barton). So why the sudden influx of JC commits?
My first thought was Wulff was stepping away from his rebuilding plan slightly to protect his job security, but as Jeff and Brian noted in the last podcast, WSU doesn't have a long history of JC guys making instant impacts. Instead, I think the answer may lie in the current roster construction.
The current roster lists 107 players, combing through the media guide and other sources, I have the team with 77 of the 107 as scholarship athletes. Of the 77, 18 scholarship seniors will depart, leaving 59 on scholarship. It's likely LeAndre Daniels' scholarship will be moved to a medical scholarship and two more spots could open with potential departures of Atofau and Barrington. There will be some other attrition and a few walk ons will be rewarded scholarships, so for this exercise lets say Wulff and Co. are left with 55 scholarship athletes and 30 open slots.
More than enough room to sign a full class of 25, but this is where the JC commits can come in. The 2010 class had 20 scholarship athletes arrive on campus, leaving five open spots. This gives the staff the opportunity to add 30 scholarship athletes if they get five to enroll early.
Devonte Butler-Booker and Xavier Cooper could both arrive in January and count against the 2010 class, which leaves three open spots. With WSU on a semester program it is hard for high school kids to enroll early, although there have been rumors some of the Florida recruits might. If three of the five JC recruits are early enrollees they fill spots that would otherwise be left unused.
Even if the JC players turn out to be minimal contributors and depth, you're not taking away a spot from a high school kid and regain the roster flexibility in two years. The key is to get them in Pullman in January.
If they pull this off, it could really add to the depth next year. If all five (or more) enroll in the summer, they will depart with a large group sophomore contributers and could bring back depth issues that have recently plagued this team.